The ultimate goal remains the same every year.
While every team in the American Hockey League chases the Calder Cup, the Tampa Bay Lighting’s AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, are looking to rekindle the magic that took them to the league championship series in 2013. Less than three years have passed, but the memories of 2013 seem to be shrinking in the rear view mirror.
The Crunch will take their first step toward that goal when they open the 2015-16 on the road against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms Saturday.
“It’s gone by fast, without a doubt,” said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. “The people have changed except for a couple, but it does feel like a while away. I feel like we’ve learned a lot over these last two years, and we’re continuing to grow. The goal, as always, is to make the playoffs and win the Calder Cup.”
We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for his recent contributions on and off the ice.
The Bolt Prospect of the Week for the week ending October 6 is … Mitchell Stephens, W, Saginaw Spirit, OHL.
When Mitchell Stephens was drafted with the Lightning’s top pick this summer, fans looked at his numbers and shrugged. That’s it?
Stephens posted 22 goals and 48 points in 62 games for the Spirit, with a minus-17 rating.
This week's “Brad Lukowich Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast (also available on Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:
· The No. 37
· Season preview: Tampa Bay Lightning. What’s the ceiling? Floor? Who’s the scoring leader?
· Season preview: Syracuse Crunch. Everything depends on…
· Interview with Rob Zettler
· The BP Mailbag (Should 3-on-3 overtime stats count? Will Steve Yzerman still be a genius after cap casualties?)
We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award this season, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for his recent contributions on and off the ice.
The first Bolt Prospect of the Week for the 2015-2016 season, for the week ending September 28, is … Matthew Peca, C, Tampa Bay Lightning/Syracuse Crunch.
The last Lightning prospect to wear No. 63 as a camp number turned out to be pretty good at the hockey, and the latest prospect to wear it is off to an impressive start.
Tyler Johnson wore 63 before switching to his customary No. 9, then was a Calder Trophy finalist for the NHL rookie of the year. A year later he was a playoff hero, helping the Lightning to a Stanley Cup Finals berth before breaking his wrist and playing the final series significantly limited.
Matt Peca was playing center for Quinnipiac University when Johnson was proving NHL doubters wrong two years ago. Two weeks ago he was lighting it up for the Lightning in their prospect tournament and took that momentum into the Lightning’s main camp and preseason games.
This week's “Andre Roy Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast (also available on Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:
· The No. 36
· Roster cutting
· Who’s left standing for the TB opener?
· Interview with Adam Wilcox
· The BP Mailbag (Who wins the backup job? … Another option for backup goalie? … Darkhorse for TB prospect call-up … Stamkos trade value [if necessary] … Adam Erne now vs Adam Erne in previous camps)
This week's “Nikolai Khabibulin Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast (also available on Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:
· The No. 35
· Prospect tournament review (Who’s up? Who’s down?)
· Interview with Mathieu Joseph
· The BP Mailbag (Which TB regular is getting the squeeze? … Camp surprises? … Thoughts on Yan, Joseph, Stephens … Kucherov with Stamkos? … 2019 arena banners)
Tomorrow is the end of the 2015 Tampa Bay Lightning Prospect Tournament in Estero, Florida, and the Lightning (1-1) have a chance to claim its championship if Nashville beats Washington earlier in the day and the Bolts defeat Florida. There is no championship game or oversized trophy awarded to the winners to skate around Germain Arena and collect their pent-up tears of joy, however.
There’s a reason for that – it’s all about the experience.
This week's “Mikael Andresson Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast (also available on Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:
· The No. 34
· Prospect season is underway, and The Goose is loose
· Prospect tournament preview
· Vasy’s replacement – Who’s ready? Who’s not?
· Top 10 Upsiders, organization-wide
After many days of careful debate and examination, Bolt Prospects is ready to announce its 2014-2015 Supplemental Rankings with the addition of the Lightning’s 2015 NHL Entry Draft class. The team's 2015 draft strategy seems in some ways to represent a shifting of gears by a team that appears to have taken the leap into elite status. With no glaring organizational holes after having addressed the defenseman position last summer and with a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in their back pocket, this year's draft strategy appears to have moved away from the goal of adding cornerstone pieces or addressing organizational holes and toward the goal of adding the type of grit and depth necessary to win the sport's greatest prize. As you read the Supplemental Rankings, you'll see that as a common thread throughout almost all of the 2015 draftees. In addition, you'll see how the rankings take into account the results of the team's recent summer rookie camp, which was the first opportunity to evaluate the postseason development track of some prospects and see how new prospects stacked up against returnees.
This week's “Freddy Modin Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast (also available on Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:
· The No. 33
· Draft review – pick by pick & overall
· Offseason update – are they done?